Friday, July 29, 2011

Try the Chicken for God's Sake

I think it's time to switch up from my apparent fixation on love and relationships and delve into the realm of another passion in my life: music.

I was pretty L7 as a kid...I was (and still am) an only child. I developed an appreciation for classical, traditional music from my dad. Big band, swing, jazz, symphonic...even ragtime and a smattering of bluegrass was brought to my by Pop. Mom, being the more liberal of the duo introduced me to folk, mellow rock, etc. I grew up going to live productions of classic light operas such as The Mikado, Showboat, The Music Man, etc. And on the trip home from Grandma's -Downey to Tustin - dad would play KNX and we'd listen to the old time radio shows from 9pm to 10 pm. I was an only child growing up in the 70s and lived in a fairly dysfunctional household but it wasn't bad enough to drive me out of the house to find relief in drugs, booze or partying. I actually was such a loner, such a misfit...a total social retard...so afraid of everyone, that I hid in my house and escaped in television and classic movies.

So, as I was growing up in the era of the punk music revolution, I was protected from it's damning influences (haha!) and merrily asked for a Glenn Miller album at the age of 11. My musical tastes morphed into teen pop and then rockabilly and the UK New Wave invasion of the early 80's. I dressed in oversized men's shirts and cuffed my jeans, wore puffy skirts and had a mini pompadour. Eventually New Wave took over and my wardrobe became black, white, grey and red ONLY as I became a Duranie, reveled in INXS, Soft Cell and the like. My friends and I would go dancing at Old World in Huntington Beach on Friday nights and I glided through the angst of my teenage years escaping in the bright colors exploding on MTV, aware of the cool darkness of subculture music such as The Damned, The Vandals, T.S.O.L., Black Flag and such but oblivious to it's power.

At this time of my life there was a lot of fear and self-loathing but I still wasn't expressing myself in negative ways other than ditching school. I barely graduated and then blossomed after high school. It was in community college in 1986 that I discovered The Pogues and X and within a few years returning to my swing/rockabilly roots with Brian Setzer Orchestra. I again cuffed my jeans and went Rosie the Riveter with bandanas in my hair...I was rockabilly when it was no longer cool. And I went on to discover the classic punk music of my childhood. I shopped at Meow in Long Beach and enjoyed being an odd cog.

With that said I never have completely subscribed to any one genre or subculture...never immersed myself so completely in a scene that I wore the uniform of the music every single day. I never completely allowed myself to be stereotyped or pegged into one look. I guess even today if you HAD to label me the closest you could come is retro. I tend toward the retro look of the 40s and 50s but really just dress how I feel like dressing. Some days I resemble a skater chick, some days a grown up office worker and some days it's just jeans and a tee. Just like my music. It all depends on my mood and how I feel like presenting myself one day or even one hour at a time. Think it's the flamboyant Leo in me, or maybe the closeted actress. I just like that no one can accurately peg me based on how I look or what I listen to. I like being different and I like walking to my own beat. I may have missed out on the original punk explosion, but I think ideologically I was and still am punk at heart in that I listened to the music I wanted to hear, when I wanted to listen to it, regardless who else wasn't listening to it. So what if the screams coming off my record player were the horns of Pennsylvania 6500! LOL!!

Walk by my office at any time of day and you're likely to hear anything...X, Dean Martin, Norah Jones, The Chieftains, The Dickies, Keith Urban, The Police, Taco, Ricky Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, Old 97's, Fletcher Henderson, Gene Summers, CCR, The Cramps, The Shadow or Shakira.

I love that music doesn't belong to anyone tho some fanatics feel they own the rights to a look or feel or sound, which is misguided. I understand but don't care for "uniforms". I know they're there as a way for people to identify each other and I get that...dude you have liberty spikes, we have something in common. But what I hate is that people go too far and say this is OUR music...you don't look like us...you don't belong get the fuck out. Fuck that. Music is a thread and it binds us. Who gives a shit what we look like. If we are moved by a sound, whether it's the angry rants of Linkin Park, the haunting emo tunes of Evanescence, the sweet melodies of Vince Gill or the trumpeting ooompaooompa of some AM station Mexican band, WHO CARES!!! I just know music has the superpower of reaching into your soul, grabbing hold of the bits and parts, rearranging them and then, when the song's over you are somehow changed. Forever. And to limit oneself to only one genre is like paying 30 bucks for a Vegas buffet and only eating the tater tots. What the fuck? Eat up people!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fading to Black

I think I have made it perfectly clear that I am a romantic of the hopeless variety. If you scan through my past blogs it's pretty apparent that - maybe sadly - my view on love and romance was shaped heavily by the old Hollywood flicks I grew up watching.

I still think in terms of movie scenes. When I hear a song I can disappear into my own private theater of my mind and lose time crafting the perfect chase scene, date scene, martial arts fight, kiss scene...you name it. I have mastered the art of escapism through imagination. In my world that's ok. I have not detached from reality to the point where I don't live my life, in fact it's the opposite. Today I rarely have time to delve into the beauty of my imagination. I just have too much going on. Kids, work, friends, dating (thought I'd throw that in there as a "law of attraction" dealio... It can't hurt). But man, when I was a kid I could leave planet Earth for hours on end and enter the realm of planet Kristen, heavily colonized by nearby planet Hollywood... And I came up with epic adventures, romances, dramas and comedy, with me as the star in each production. It was fun, it was safe...but in the end it wasn't real and imagine my disappointment when real men on real dates and in real relationships didn't live up to the Cary Grants and Gene Kelly's of my dreams.

It has taken a lot of heartache for me to wake up and finally see love and romance through unfiltered eyes. Don't get me wrong. I still believe there are people who are meant to be together, I still believe there are guys out there who want to romance a girl...and I believe there are men who who after years in a relationship with the same woman still are in love and still appreciate what they have. That sweet naïveté of ever-after love is something I hold dearly. It might be childlike, it might be silly, but it's something to believe in and hope for.

The trick for me is to change my belief system that I am not worthy of love. I spent so long in self loathing that I could never believe anyone could ever love me. When it comes down to it I still have that little girl fear of no one could possibly love ME...if they knew the truth about me. All my foibles, defects, crazy thoughts...blah blah blah. It's self destruction and perpetuation of loneliness at it's finest. As if I am the only imperfect human on this planet. Ha! The very thought is the epitome of ego!

Love and romance...I have a friend who says she's never known anyone's life to be so "fade to black" as mine. It certainly isn't a boring life. I certainly don't demurely let events whisk by me and meekly sip my tea whispering about the weather. My life is as colorful as my language. It is up down and all around. If it stops spinning I am sure I shall be quite bored and as a Leo that is quite unacceptable. Us Leos need the ball of yarn always within batting reach.

But back to planet Kristen...imagine this if you will.... A cool moonlit evening, on a balcony overlooking the ocean...hundreds of white faerie lights (Christmas lights will do) twinkle above and around a small, intimate table set for two...he takes her hand and, as The Temptation's "Night and Day" plays, leads her into his arms, embraces her and slowly dances with her.

And because I am embarrassing myself, I won't go into details about passionate, sensual kisses and declarations of love....just know that I am slowly fading from blush to black...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Catch-up. It's Not Just a Condiment

Well, my first blog from my iPad. This is gonna be short and sweet. And full of typos til I get to a "real" keyboarded computer.

I am sitting in a Starbucks across from my high school. I have had good fortune to gain new perspective on some folks I went to school with, having spent the recent Independence Day holiday with old school friends. Some of it was good perspective....like learning that one of the popular girls I secretly envied and openly avoided and still kind of had an inferiority complex towards had her own bouts of being teased which has stayed with her all these years. It is amazing how we feel so alone and unique in our fears and tribulations growing up only to find out we were all walking around feeling the same way. Kids are stupid. It's not their fault. They have to become un-stupid by learning from life's experiences. Ideally, if we could have walked around knowing each other's real thoughts and fears we might have understood more about ourselves and each other sooner, probably less painfully. But there's that paradox of life....the really bad, scary, lonely stuff that we go through growing up (as well as the wonderful, happy, joyful stuff) can't be learned painlessly via books or webinars. We have to go through what we go through and then hope we're not too scarred by the bad stuff, eventually coming to grips with the past to move forward in our life. So...there.

There was talk of other friends, some of which I don't know if I wanted to know, but it gave me insight I needed in order to sort my own thoughts out. Don't get me wrong. This wasn't gossip, just catching up on old times, but hearing and viewing those years with fresh eyes and ears....and the wisdom of 25 years separated from those times gave me much needed new perspective.

I basically had my "AHA! moment" from a few years ago reiterated to me: had I not been so involved in my own angst as a child and simply allowed people to get to know me, I would have had more friends. Truth is, I didn't allow people to get close to me and instead of hiding behind partying or substance abuse early on, I simply retreated to the safety of my aloneness in my home...in my room...in my books and my movies and my daydreams. It was only after high school that I blossomed and came alive and broke out of my fearful shell of self-loathing and let myself be known to other humans walking this planet. But I wouldn't change a moment of good or bad from any point in my life because who and where I am today is a good thing.

Let's just say I know now that my perspective on a LOT of things as a child was messed up, as is my adult recollection of those years, so it's nice to have someone ELSE tell me how things were so I can see differently today.

I am also going through processing the recent break-up of my relationship of 7 months. I knew from the start that it wasn't a "forever" deal and kind of just went one day at a time with him, but I felt more and more like I was needing more than he could give emotionally and the end came sooner than I expected. It's totally ok...I guess not putting future daydreams and expectations on a relationship was a first for me, and I understand that I am mourning the loss of the relationship instead of the actual man. And though we said we would remain friends, he "changed his mind" a few weeks later. So, I ended a romantic relationship and then had that scrape reopened when I lost him as a very good friend.

Of course this all brings afresh my feelings for Mr. Heartbreak from last year. To be honest, I never stopped having feelings for him, though I tried hard to get him off my mind and for awhile when my relationship was new and exciting - and on the heels of such heartache - I did forget about him for awhile. Unfortunately, that respite did not last anywhere near long enough. Soon the new relationship fell into a rut that felt like we had been married for ten years, the honeymoon had barely begun before routine and neglect set in. We never fought, we just got bored. Now that I am single again it's difficult to not return to the longing I felt for him on a regular basis for almost two years. Truth is, as I have written before, I have such a deep connection to this person that I have never had with anyone else, and quite frankly no one who I have met and dated since meeting him has compared in the least to his effect on me.  Honestly. I guess I am hopeless where this guy is concerned. Maybe someday someone else will come along to erase him from my mind, body and heart, but no one has been able to yet.

To make matters worse...I read an article on Amy Grant and Vince Gill in an issue of AARP at the doctor's office last week and the way she felt about him completely resonated with me and my feelings for this guy. I wish i could hate him, wish I could disdain him....wish I knew if he thought of me still, what he truly felt about me....lots of wishes. It only makes me a little crazy. Well, like I said, hoping that someday I will not ever give him a second thought...but today it seems like that will never be possible. As my friend and I were just discussing today over breakfast....it sure would be nice to have those feelings for someone, and even better have them feel those feelings for ME! We both decided (my girlfriend and I) that all we want is to just fall in love, for real...and be happy for a long time. And I have friends who have been married 10, 15, 20 years who are so obviously meant for each other, they still are IN LOVE with each other and somehow they were fortunate enough to find a partner with whom they could weather the storms of marriage and remain afloat, together, to sail into the sunset. Why others of us have had to crash upon the reef quite a few times and flounder around choking on seaweed is beyond me. But, I guess that's just the way it goes. When the time comes for "HIM" to come along and stay for good, then I will know that the heartache and trouble to get there will make the relationship that much more valuable.

In the meantime, I'll wash that seaweed down with ketchup I guess.